Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED)

SR&ED stands for Scientific Research and Experimental Development. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers tax credit incentives and refunds for companies that perform Research and Development in Canada. The SR&ED program was created in the mid-1980's to encourage technical development in Canada, and each year it provides an average of over $3 billion to Canadian companies.

If you are developing a new technology, improving existing technology, products or processes, you could be eligible to receive tax credits or cash refunds under the SR&ED program. While many other countries have similar programs, Canada's SR&ED program is one of the more lucrative of tax-incentive programs for companies performing research and development.

Benefits of SR&ED

Qualified Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC’s) can receive up to 35% back of eligible expenditures incurred in the development of new or improved products or processes. Foreign-owned or public corporations can qualify for a 15% tax credit on eligible expenditures.

Most Canadian provinces offer additional tax credits on qualified SR&ED expenditures. Depending on the province, SR&ED claimants can earn additional provincial SR&ED tax credits. Read more about provincial tax credits to find out your province's rate of return.

The funds that you receive from the SR&ED program can be invested back into your business in the form of new equipment, new hires, expanding your facilities, taking on more challenging projects, or paying down debts.

How SR&ED Tax Credits are Calculated

The following charts show the value of tax credits from an example set of expenditures:

Example of SR&ED Expenditures

Calculation of Qualified SR&ED Expenditures Expense SR&ED Eligible
Labour/Wages (T4) $500,000 $500,000
Overhead (via Proxy: 55% of T4 Labour)   $275,000
Materials Destroyed + Transformed $105,000 $105,000
Arms-length Subcontracts (80%) $150,000 $120,000
R&D Capital/Equipment $500,000 $0
Total Qualified Expenditures $1,255,000 $1,000,000

Example of Calculating Tax Credit in Ontario (CCPC)*

  Before After
SR&ED Expenditures $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Ontario – OITC (10%/8%***) $100,000 $80,000
Ontario – ORDTC (4.5%/3.5%**) $40,500 $32,200
Federal – ITC (35%) $300,825 $310,730
Total SR&ED Benefit For You (~44.1%/42.3%) $441,325 $422,930
* CCPC – Canadian Controlled Private Corporation
** ORDTC was reduced from 4.5% for expenditures incurred after June 1, 2016
*** OITC was reduced from 10% for expenditures incurred after June 1, 2016

Example of Calculating Tax Credit in Ontario (non-CCPC)

  Before After
SR&ED Expenditures $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Ontario – ORDTC (4.5%/3.5%**) $45,000 $35,000
Federal – ITC (15%) $143,250 $144,750
Total SR&ED Benefit For You (18.8%/18%) $188,250 $179,750
** ORDTC was reduced from 4.5% for expenditures incurred after June 1, 2016

SR&ED Policy Changes

As of December 19, 2012, the CRA has put into effect new policy changes to the SR&ED program which will affect the eligibility of work for SR&ED. The new policy document further elaborates on the three criterions which included: (1) scientific or technological advancement, (2) scientific and (3) technological content and scientific or technology uncertainty. In addition, the document presents five questions that have been established by the courts to provide a logical order for the assessment of SR&ED. These five questions were further revised in April 2015 to provide greater clarity about SR&ED eligibility and include:

  1. Was there a scientific or a technological uncertainty?
  2. Did the effort involve formulating hypotheses specifically aimed at reducing or eliminating that uncertainty?
  3. Was the overall approach adopted consistent with a systematic investigation or search, including formulating and testing the hypotheses by means of experiment of analysis?
  4. Was the overall approach undertaken for the purpose of achieving a scientific or technological advancement?
  5. Was a record of the hypotheses tested and the results kept as the work progressed?

It is important to keep in mind that existing SR&ED documentation should be reviewed to confirm that the criteria asked by the five questions are addressed.

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How NorthBridge Will Assist With SR&ED and Other Funding Programs

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NorthBridge is a full-service professional engineering firm, which excels at working with you to make sure that you receive the best value from your SR&ED claim. We employ full-time engineers to assure the thoroughness of every claim that we complete, and that all eligible projects are included with your SR&ED claim.

NorthBridge has over 20 years of experience assisting companies with government funding programs. We will:

  • Listen and discuss past, present and future project activities.
  • Research and identify the appropriate and optimal government grant, tax incentive, loans, as well as private financing opportunities.
  • Take a hands-on approach to the application process and address relevant program objectives and criteria.
  • Become an in-house project manager for all types of government funding.
  • Interview the key employees and ask specific questions in order to make the right funding decisions.
  • Assist in writing the application and preparing all supporting documentation.
  • Assist with government reporting requirements.

To arrange for a free, no obligation consultation with one of our government funding experts contact us at:

Other Innovation Funds

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)

AgriInnovation Program

More information
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